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Sony Is Donating To Reproductive Rights Groups, But There's A Catch

The leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade has taken social discourse by storm, leaving major companies to speak up or risk backlash for silence. Among them, gaming companies have grown conspicuous through their absence from or delay in entering abortion rights discourse, with The Washington Post reporting that only two of 20 major publishers it contacted returned with official statements. Now it has been revealed that Sony has essentially forbidden employees from any of its studios from speaking out. The company eventually agreed to match a donation to reproductive rights groups from Insomniac Games, but this act of charity came with a caveat: the studios cannot speak of it in public.

In a private email (via The Washington Post), PlayStation President Jim Ryan asked employees not to speak up about the discourse surrounding abortion rights, writing how everyone should "respect differences of opinion" within the community. This prompted swift internal backlash, according to a Bloomberg report, with employees expressing how unhappy they were with Ryan's attempts to lighten the mood by following his comments with pictures celebrating his cats' birthdays.

Following Ryan's email, Insomniac CEO Ted Price told one employee that he hesitated to let workers speak about the company's donation due to potential "material repercussions" as a subsidiary of SIE Worldwide Studios. Even so, Insomniac has led the charge in donating to groups dedicated to reproductive rights.

Insomniac and Sony make huge donations

According to the Washington Post, Insomniac has arranged to donate $50,000 to the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, a nonprofit helping women afford safe abortions and contraception. Sony has pledged an additional $50,000 to the nonprofit, and Price said the company would match all donations from individual employees if they donate through the PlayStation Cares program. Sony and Insomniac also plan to work out a system granting financial aid to employees needing out-of-state reproductive care.

However, Sony will still require Insomniac to refrain from making a public statement regarding these donations. If the company were to speak out, Ted Price feared, "Any progress that we might make in helping change [Sony Interactive Entertainment's] approach would be stopped dead in its tracks" (per Washington Post).

Sony's insistence on silence marks a distinct contrast from the public statements made by Microsoft, Bungie, and others. Responding to The Washington Post's outreach, Microsoft affirmed its support to protect the critical health care rights of employees, which extends to "abortion and gender-affirming care." Bungie also expressed firm support in a blog post for Roe v. Wade's continuation, calling a potential overturn a "blow to freedom in America [and a] direct attack on human rights."

Only time will tell if Sony's public stance on speaking about reproductive rights will change.